as usual on 1 January 2000 - people won't stand for less, local
government minister Hilary Armstrong said today.
Local government is responsible for a range of systems which could
traffic management to payment of benefits.
Following publication of an Audit Commission report on the challenge
of the year 2000 date change, Hilary Armstrong said:
'It is good to see that many councils are getting ready to deal
with millennium bug problems. But I am concerned that some,
particularly district councils, are falling behind.
'All councils must give these issues a higher priority if they are
to meet a timetable that nobody can alter. The time to act is now.
'The government's preparations for dealing with the millennium bug
are very well-advanced. We have invested a considerable amount of
time, energy and resources in these preparations. Every government
department and agency has a plan to address this issue and we are
doing everything to ensure that essential services are not
'It is widely recognised that as a result of the actions we have
taken this government is at the forefront in the world in preparing
for the millennium bug. Local government has a vital part to play.
This is a government priority. It is important that councils make it
a priority too.
'The deputy prime minister has made clear his personal commitment
on this issue and has been working with Jeremy Beecham, chairman
of the Local Government Association, to get councils signed up to the
Action 2000 pledge.
'The LGA will be holding a seminar on the Year 2000 issue early in
the new year. The Audit Commission has said that it is prepared to
name and shame laggard authorities by next spring. They will have
every opportunity to get their act together before then.'
The deputy prime minister and Sir Jeremy wrote to all council
leaders on 30 March about the need for action by all sectors of the
community to counter the threat posed by the millennium date change
On 18 August, the deputy PM signed Pledge 2000 on behalf
of the government and its agencies. Pledge 2000 was developed by
Action 2000 to help all organisations work in partnership and foster
a spirit of cooperation. (The government, through DTI, is funding
Action 2000 to raise awareness about and help businesses to tackle
the Millennium Bug. Their helpline is 0845 601 2000). The government
publishes information on each department's preparations and quarterly
statements to parliament on http://www.open.gov.uk/citu/cituhome.htm
On 20 October, Mr Prescott and Sir Jeremy wrote jointly to
all council leaders to re-emphasise the need for action. The letter
specifically asked them to:
- make a positive public commitment by signing Pledge 2000 on behalf
of their councils
- appoint someone at member level to take public responsibility for
seeing that action on this issue isdriven forward throughout the
authority at all levels